THIS year, BOSASNet will launch its Youth Programme, which will include substance abuse and dependency education, awareness activities, and outpatient counselling specially targeted at youth aged 13 to 20.
To introduce this, BOSASNet will focus on youth and substance abuse during the month of February. Often when people speak about substance abuse in Botswana, the ‘youth’ are mentioned.
However, it is important that we understand why the youth are often associated with substance abuse issues and why we at BOSASNet would like to tailor our services to this group.
The youth is affected by substances (drugs and alcohol) as:
• Children of parents, guardians, or care takers who are users of substances
• Users (consumers) of substances
• Traffi ckers of substances
• Sellers of substances
• Victims of crimes committed by those who are under the infl uence of substances
People who are exposed to substances from a young age have a higher risk of experimenting with and using substances at an early age.
Many youth experience challenges during their teenage years; and as a way to cope, they self-medicate by using alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to feel better.
Most substances cause physical and mental damage to the underdeveloped and growing bodies and minds of young people. Such early harm can lead to irreversible health conditions in future.
Evidence shows that prevention is better than cure, and BOSASNet believes that reaching the youth before they are exposed to or start using substances is critical to preventing the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse in Botswana.
It is important that children, teenagers, and young adults are aware of the dangers of substance abuse to themselves and others; of their rights and responsibilities with regards to substance use, possession, and exposure; and where to get help.
With this support and guidance, the youth can be empowered to make positive informed decisions now and later.
If you would like to find out more about youth and substance abuse, or about the new BOSASNet Youth Programme, contact us on 395 9119, 7265 9891, www.bosasnet. com, or find us on Facebook.